Joyful Herald of Spring

apeep-As I stood outside in the rain today, with the soft drops falling gently on my face, I admired the way the forest looked bathed  in fog, mysterious and quiet and for a second, wondered what animal I should feature in this week’s Creature Feature. It didn’t take long to realize the Spring Peeper is the perfect critter to feature, as on a day like today, they are sure to be emerging from their winter hideouts and steadily making their way to the nearest vernal pools where they will make their lovely music for the next few weeks.

I love the sound of spring peepers perhaps more than any other amphibian or insect song.

There is just something about it that brings a smile to my heart and makes me feel carefree and happy.

Like a song from the radio that instantly brings back a memory, the sound of peepers makes me think of days gone by and places imprinted on my spirit like invisible tattoos.

One of the happiest times in my life was when I worked as a Naturalist at a small nature center in eastern New York state called Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Less than an hour from New York City, the park consisted of just under 5000 acres and in the time I worked there, I explored much of it, often venturing off trail to discover treasures unknown by many. I loved spring when I could visit one of many vernal pools on the property, often sitting alone until  the animals forgot about me and I could watch quietly to to see what creatures stirred. In the spring there is a particular order to things returning to the pond, a sequence that stays the same every year. First the wood frogs return, then the yellow-spotted salamanders and spring peepers followed by the American toads and gray tree frogs. All choose vernal or temporary bodies of water in which to lay their eggs, thus giving their offspring a better chance since these waters are devoid of fish that would quickly devour them. If the weather gets too warm too fast, the ponds might dry out completely but that is a risk these amphibians have been taking since the beginning of time.

One of my favorite places in the park was a place called Michigan Road. On spring evenings I often wandered there, deafened by the ringing bells of hundreds of spring peepers. I have never heard anything quite so loud! Sitting beside the pond was an amazing experience, one I wish I could share with everyone who knows me. There is a quote that says “Nature has music for those who listen.” … I know this is true and hope everyone can be blessed with the singing of spring peepers on warm spring nights.

To read more about Spring Peepers CLICK HERE to see my Weekly Creature Feature for this week.


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